Thursday, September 9, 2010

CIMB Wealth Advisors (CWA) - Managing wealth smartly

THE recent global financial crisis kick-started a new consciousness in the way people look at financial matters. It is in this new climate that companies like CIMB Wealth Advisors (CWA) find themselves more in demand as people begin to think differently about their wealth and how to increase it.
CWA is a subsidiary of CIMB Group. It started 20 years ago as BHLB Pacific Trust before merging with Southern Bank in 2006, which marked a major shift in the role of the company in the new financial landscape. 

From being a unit trust management company, CWA now provides multiple financial products and services, including investment products, insurance, Takaful, credit cards, mortgage loans, wills and trust instruments and its latest product, Islamic Financial Planning Services.

CWA chief executive officer Tan Beng Wah, who has been with CWA since 2006 overseeing the company’s growth and development, said: "Our new position has been to look at ourselves as a total wealth solutions provider.

"At the beginning of this year, we decided to reposition ourselves in a more definite way and that included getting a new logo for CWA."

Tan also explained that CWA is now focused on three main outlooks – wealth creation, wealth protection and wealth preservation.

"For the first one, our customers accumulate their wealth through investment and savings products, primarily starting from unit trusts and other wealth creation products such as private equity investments. Suffice it to say, wealth creation remains part of our base and the strongest part of our revenue."

For the ‘protection’ part of the equation, CWA looks at two instruments – insurance and Takaful – to ensure that the customer’s assets are protected.

The final portion, ‘preservation’, has to do with the distribution of wealth, largely surrounding estate planning and exit plans for businesses.

As for the last two applications, CWA partners with other companies. "In the past, we used to rely on our own products, when we were solely a unit trust company," Tan said. "But now we’re also focusing on being a distributor, so we not only have products from the CIMB group, but also from our partners, which are companies that are leaders in their respective fields."
Tan explained that people from different generations view the subject of managing their wealth differently.
"The economic and social environment has changed substantially over the years," he said. "My father’s generation had the mindset of working hard and constantly saving money. They find it difficult to spend their cash at all.
"My generation also worked hard, but have come to realise that it is all right to spend money on things that are enjoyable right now, instead of waiting until after retirement to do so.

"My children’s generation is completely different, because they tend to want to enjoy things now, before they are able to even understand where the money comes from."

Wealth management proposals have to be tailored differently for each individual. "For the younger generation, they want their money to work for them immediately, so they are looking for ways to maximise their wealth. It’s a generation that is looking for opportunities and, therefore, is open to new ideas, whereas my generation tends to be more conservative."
This has also led to some changes in the way CWA views itself. "Our customers have become more sophisticated," Tan added. "We need to cater to this new outlook, and our products should be more flexible to take into account different life changes and situations."
The fact that more financial information is readily available today, through personal finance books and the Internet, has also allowed customers to be more aware of their options and to take more risks with their investments.

Tan also advised those who are considering investments to be careful.
"Don’t fall into the trap of joining those ‘skim cepat kaya’ (get-rich-quick schemes)," he said. "Some people will tell you that if you don’t join them, you will lose the opportunity.
"The first thing you must keep in mind is that there is no such situation because in this life, there are many opportunities.

"Secondly, you must ask sensible questions surrounding your own needs rather than depending entirely on what the agent tells you. Make sure you keep in mind what you want and what you are trying to achieve with your money."

He also emphasised that people must be prepared and do their own research on companies.
"Don’t just look at one source, get verification from as many sources as possible to see what the company can offer. You must also have a strategy, and you must be prepared to do what is required."
He also reminded people to look at diversification. "Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You must diversify the type of instrument or product that you have.
"And you must also have it flexible enough for readjustment, or what we call portfolio realignment, whenever the economic environment changes.
"But, you must not panic at every fluctuation in the market or change in the world. You must take smart risks, and be consistent."

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For investment in Islamic unit trust funds (mutual funds) and other Islamic products in Malaysia, pls contact:
Ahmad Sanusi Husain, Islamic Investment Advisor, CIMB Wealth Advisors (CWA) - Islamic Funds
UOA Tower, Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:
Mobile no: +6019-234 8786, +6012-610 0526 / Skype: sanusimy

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